Football continues to flourish as a medium for the message of diversity and acceptance, and the latest initiative taken to promote this idea comes from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea FC.
Under new ownership, the club are currently undergoing some major alterations, including some tweaks to its culture, and also the general perception of the London outfit.
The latest initiative taken by the club allowed people of all backgrounds to break their fasts, and also break some barriers in the process.
To commemorate Ramadan, the holy month of fasting observed in Islam, the Blues hosted an Open Iftar at their home venue.
For the uninitiated, Iftar refers to the nightly feast that breaks the long day of fasting, it is often done as part of a community and usually at the time of Azan (call to prayer).
As suggested by its name, the Open Iftar was indeed open to all and totally free of cost.
The initiative was undertaken in collaboration with the Ramadan Tent project, making Chelsea the first Premier League club to host an Iftar at their stadium.
Hundreds of Londoners gathered at Stamford Bridge to partake in the initiative, the arrangements provided by the club can be seen in this vlog.
The evening started off with speeches, followed by prayer led by Imran Abu Hassan.
Chelsea also made history by playing Azhan at the venue, making Stamford Bridge the first Premier League stadium to do so.
Among notable attendees were the likes of Chelsea Legend Paul Canoville, Chelsea Foundation head Simon Taylor, and board member Daniel Finkelstein.
Finkelstein said this on the occasion, ‘We are a big community with lots of supporters from different communities and we want to honor, respect, and share the joy of every single fan. This is about saying yes to love, inclusion, and community, and yes to everyone who wants to be a Chelsea fan. It’s very special to be the first Premier League club to host an Open Iftar and something we are extremely proud of.’
The club’s initiative was appreciated by fans online from all backgrounds, including Muslim supporters who were evidently proud of their side’s gesture.
There were also hopes that Chelsea’s initiative could lead to other clubs following suit, seeing Open Iftar at venues such as Old Trafford or the Emirates would undoubtedly push the core message of inclusivity and diversity.